Something's not right. Tables and chairs in the lounge area are pushed together to create two large walkways leading to the stage, where a dozen or so people mill about. Instrument cases lie on the ground, and static blares through the speakers while someone attempts to correct sound system issues.
This Neon Reverb show is definitely not starting on time. In fact, the band now expects an "around 9 p.m. or so" start time. This might be devastating news for someone who planned to attend this "bonus" show before heading to the larger, better advertised 9 p.m. Neon Reverb shows at Beauty Bar, Bunkhouse or the Aruba Lounge. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, there isn't a single audience member there to care about such things, only a bartender wiping down empty glasses.
Five to the Eyes, a one-man band, takes the stage. Again, something doesn't make sense here. Slightly angry rap-rock vocals overlap electronica. The lyrics are about high scores on video games. As he finishes up his act, Five to the Eyes jokes with the audience. "You guys don't know what to think. You're like, what the..."
You said it.
Nearly two hours after the originally scheduled end time of the show, Radaid begins. With eight members, you'd expect the band to sound full, maybe even a bit crowded, but not so with this Guadalajara, Mexico-based outfit. Not even close. The band members rotate through instruments from around the world with an ease that comes from their 11 years together. Somehow, none of the band's elements compete or outshine one another. There's room for everything - the melodic vocal harmonies, an intense violin solo, a sitar and acoustic guitar pairing, a battle of African drums and a didgeridoo, too. Seamlessly, Radaid travels from new wave electro (think Brazilian band CSS) to new age instrumental (think Enya). Throughout their hour-long set, the band draws the Square Apple's modest crowd closer and closer to the stage.
Some things are worth the wait.